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Archive for April, 2010

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” -Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

So yesterday we were dirving down the road near my grandmother’s when I saw a sign that had this verse on it. I got me thinking about the verse. Sometimes we get really worried about stuff, we fret over the little things, and stress over the big ones. We rush about day by day trying to get everything done, trying to make everything perfect. Sometimes we find ourselves so busy we aren’t making time for God. But this verse says “be still.” And not just that “be still, and know that I am God.” We need to take time out of our daily lives to be still and know God! So don’t get so busy that you put that off, always find a time to retreat and be still.

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The Tale of Two Men

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 5:18-21 (ESV)

Okay, so REALY cheesy title, I know. But hang in with me a sec.

Genesis 1: God creates Heaven, Earth and all things

Genesis 2: God creates man (or rather, we see more details of the creation of man.)

Genesis 3: Man sins.

Catch that? Three chapters, that’s how long it takes for Adam and Eve to fall. THREE CHAPTERS. One man, three chapters, and all of mankind is cursed and thrown out of God’s prencense.

Sounds pretty bleak now huh?

Well it doesn’t stop there.

God uses one man to save tose whom He calls.

He used our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.-John 3:16 (ESV)

Hallelujah!

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Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.-1 Corinthians 14:20 (ESV)

So the other day I was reading my Bible and this verse caught my attention. What caught me first was the part about infants in evil. This caught my eye, because so many times I have heard people say tuff like, “how will I know what evil is if I haven’t tried/seen it?” 1 Corinthians 14:20 tells us that we are to be infants in evil. What does this mean? Well, if we are infants in something, we are not at all skilled in that area nor do we know it’s inner workings. So first of all, we are not to be skilled in evil. We aren’t supposed to know evil by experience. We shouldn’t have to practice evil to know evil. Does this mean that we always act like infants? Absoluetly not! 1 Corithians 14:20 tells us twice that our thinking should be mature. We are not to be children in our thinking. I know it probably seems like I harp on this a lot, but here I go again: WE ARE NOT CHILDREN ANYMORE! So our thoughts should not be childish any longer. In the chapter before this Paul writes,

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

Now I will point out that “mature” in this sense means simply “not childish” and does not mean “that which should be censored.” I know that some of yall may think it strange for me to make that distinction, but there are those who will call you childish or niave if you are being an infant in evil. If your still have trouble grasping the whole “mature thinking” thing, let me put it to you this way. Whe nyou were young at some point your favorite toys stopped being fun and suddenly meant nothing to you. Your thoughts were maturing as you realized that some things were more important.

I talk a lot about not being children anymore, but you no what guys? Even though some of yall grasp that, there are those who don’t. So I’m going to keep harping on it till God calls me to stop. If you haven’t heard the story behind my harping and wat to know, just ask! I’ll be glad to share.

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What would our world be like?

There are many things that I think we could change and by doing so we would turn the world upside down, but this is one of the… Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. ~ Ephisians 4:29b. Everyone has heard the golden rule… How often do we really use it though? Sadly, not often enough. This post is going to be short because I think the verse says it plain and simple. Are the words you say good and helpful? Are they an encouragement to those that hear them? If you can’t tell by now I am a very practical person. I read blogs often and people share about their day and all that jazz, which is great for them and anyone who wants to read it, but that is not what I’m here for. If you want to hear about my day txt or call me! 🙂 My total reason for even taking the time to blog is to point you closer to Christ. I can share what I’ve been learning and share verses all day long, but until you take it and use it in your life it is pointless. So, please do not waste my time! Just kidding!! Do you get my point though? There are so many “Christian things” that we over look because we have heard them so many times… Are your words a blessing to anyone who hears them though?! Think about it…pray about it… Seek God’s face about it…

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Showing the love of God!

~ Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.~

Last Sunday Bro. Hal talked about giving a drink of water in Jesus name! At first I was like yada yada yada… I’m pretty nice! You know I’m not allowed to pick people up and give them a ride or talk to strangers so for what I can do I’m fine! Then smack… God hit me! Literally it felt like it… Here is the deal. Do I do what I do in the name of the Lord, my God? When I finally was honest with myself I didn’t totally love the answer. Sometimes I do, but often I don’t. Like I put on a smile and love on people all the time, but in my heart of hearts I know it is only to make myself look good. Now, im sure some of you are reading this and you are like who is this terrible sinner writing this! The truth is I am just that, but i do believe that if each one of us took a DEEP look in we would almost all find the same thing. I keep kids constantly… It is no big deal for me to have 3 or 4 babysitting jobs back to back in one day. It can often get draining bc I often hear, “Ms. Jennifer will you get me this” or “Ms. Jennifer I need some water!”. So when i was thinking about this it hit me. God’s word actually talks about giving water *light bulb comes on*! I have always assumed it meant the homeless person, but could it possibly mean the child that you are watching, your sibling, your parents, or maybe even a stranger?? Could it really mean that? I believe it does… Since then I’ve been working on this. It isn’t easy at all… The next few days I was sick and trust me I didn’t feel like doing anything in Jesus’ name, although God didn’t take not feeling good as an excuse. There is this one kid which i just can not stand… at all! He is a bully to the other kids, rude, and when you sit him in time out he doesn’t care one bit. Well he kept sticking out to me. He is also one of the very few kids I keep that doesn’t have the best home life… On this particular day i wasnt feeling good at all and he was having one of the worst days he had in a while. When I would sit him in time out (after he like slammed a kid into the wall bc they wouldn’t give him the toy he wanted!) I kept hearing in my head…. “Do this in my name!”. Now i would be straight up lying to you if i told you that this amazing thing happened and the kid and i are best friends now. Honestly, he still gets under my skin, but im doing my best to treat him in the same way that I would treat my Savior! What about you? Who are those people in your life? I challenge you to treat them as you would your Savior!

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Just a thought! :)

Sorry for posting so late, but i was asked to babysit on a very short notice and I just got home! I was sent this today by a friend and it really meant alot to me…. I’m not sure how many of you are currently suffering or will be soon, but I know this came at a perfect time for me! I hope it means as much to you as it did me!

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional
April 19, 2010
Dear Debbie,
 
Am I Glad to See You!
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
                           — Hebrews 6:12
Today marks the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that gutted a US federal office building, leaving 168 people dead. That day a pastor-friend in the city invited me to hurry and come visit families who were anxiously waiting for news of their loved ones.
 When I wheeled into the Red Cross center to be cleared and credentialed, an official from across the room exclaimed, “My God, are we glad to see you!” I looked over my shoulder. Did the woman in the white lab coat mean me? Later I learned she was in charge of counseling services. I asked why she gave me such an effusive welcome. “Honey, when victims come in here for help and see someone like you, handling your own crisis with grace, it gives them hope. You are a powerful example, a promise that they, too, will survive their tragedy.”
 Oklahoma City is surviving its crisis. But so many in our culture are not. Slump-shouldered and near defeat, they need the power of an example. They need to see someone experiencing greater conflict than they are make it. If people are floundering in the mire of their problems, or if they are (God forbid) lazy like the battle-weary believers mentioned in Hebrews, they need to be reminded that God’s power works – really works, not in theory, but in reality – in someone else’s life.
 Oh, if we only knew how influential our lives really are.
 The woman in the white lab coat was right. People in the midst of crisis need to see other people handle their problems with grace. They need to see flesh and blood wrapped around the Word of God in a convincing, believable way. Why don’t you share your smile at a nursing home? Or show someone in a hospital or at a rescue mission that God is at work in your life? Volunteer your hands and your heart.
 * * * * *
 Lord God, keep me from being so self-absorbed that I miss a chance to be an example of Your grace to others.
 Blessings,

Joni and Friends

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15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 (ESV)

This passage was part of the Word of Life quiet time reading last week.  I have heard many applications of this passage, but I just wanted to share something really cool (and challenging) I learned from it this time.  There is an amazing word association application that I wouldn’t have even noticed, except that my study Bible had a note about it that got my thoughts going.  Here’s what it says:

In vv. 15-17 two different Greek verbs are used for “love”: agapaō, to love deeply, used of divine love in [John] 14:21, and of the love which the law demands (Luke 10:27); and phileō, to be fond of, a love of lesser degree than agapaō, as between friends.  In the first two instances, where the Lord asks Peter, “Lovest thou me?” He uses agapaō; but Peter, remembering his three denials of the Lord and aware now of his own weakness, does not dare to reply with as strong a word as agapaō.  Instead, he employs phileō in his reply, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” When the Lord inquires the third time, “Lovest thou me,” He uses the lesser word, phileō.  And again the humbled disciple replies: “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love [phileō] thee.”

Many of you, I’m sure, have heard this agape vs. phileo word-explanation before, but here’s just a recap, plain English version of what I understand them to mean.  (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong!)  “Agapaō” is the Greek word that is used for God’s love – sacrificial, unconditional love.  “Phileo” is the Greek word for friendship – the root word from which came “Philadelphia,” which literally means “the city of brotherly love.”

What really got me is when I followed the link verse – Mark 12:30.  You’ll recognize it.  Here’s what Jesus says:

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30 (ESV)

The word used for love in this verse is agapaō!  We are commanded to love the Lord with the same self-sacrificing, unconditional love that He has for us!

Which got me thinking, how often does the Lord ask me, “Rebecca, do you agapaō me?  Do you love me so much that you would be willing to die for my sake?”  To which I reply immediately, “Yes, Lord!  You know that I phileō you!  You’re my buddy, my best friend, someone who will listen to me complain about everything and then fix all of my problems!”

Ouch.  That sounds really self-centered and not very servant-hearted, now that it’s written out so plainly.  It was really eye-opening to me, to see how much I really am like Peter – a little too much self-confidence, not enough true love for the Lord.  And just to think – God can still use me like He used Peter, if I will turn from my selfishness and depend on Him!

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“We don’t need to be so Heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.”

Have y’all ever heard that saying?  I have!  And I’ve probably used it some, too.  There is some truth to it, but I was thinking about it the other day, and that saying really bugs me now.  Why?  Because most of the time, people use it as an excuse to not think about the things of God.  

I do get the point and I agree – no, we don’t want to just be sitting around all the time wishing to be in Heaven.  We want to do something worthwhile while we’re here!  But we are to be “about our Father’s business”; and His business we’ve been assigned is to point the lost to Him and believers closer to Him.  The question that has been ringing in my head is this: If we aren’t Heavenly minded, seeking to grow closer to Him ourselves, how can we “be about His business” and bring others closer to Him?

Here’s something I was thinking about.  Look at Paul.  Besides our Lord Jesus, if anyone else has ever been Heavenly minded, in my opinion, it was Paul! 

“We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (ESV)

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Philippians 1:21-24 (ESV)

Pastor Jim preached on the Philippians passage Sunday, and I had never realized this before.  Paul was caught between two worlds – He wanted desperately to go to be with the Lord, and yet, he was content to continue serving Him on earth.  And he did!  Even in prison, Paul was preaching to the guards (Phil. 1:12-13)!  He used his time to pray earnestly for others, and he wrote letters to churches and other believers and encouraged them!

Paul was the most Heavenly minded person I can think of (except for Jesus, as I said before)! Was he of any earthly good?  I think so!

Personally, I really don’t think that being “so Heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good” is the issue.  We still have our human nature – I don’t know about you, but for me, being earthly minded comes naturally.   In my opinion, it is more relevant that we guard against becoming so earthly minded that we’re no Heavenly good.

I think that because Paul was so Heavenly minded, he had the right perspective of what was really important in life.  My point is (and I’m talking to myself, too), let’s not use this phrase as an excuse not to think of Heavenly things.  Personally, I’m challenging myself to relearn what it means to be of earthly good to my Father.  And I think that thinking and learning more about Him are key to understanding that.  If I attempt to grasp the concept of what He has done for me, I will learn to “be about His business” more effectively. 

I guess what I’m saying is, I think that being properly Heavenly minded will actually cause a person to be of more earthly good.

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Ok so I looked up these verses looking for verse 17 which says, pray without ceasing, but when I read them all together I realized that you just cannot pull verse 17 out from the others. really this is a passage I would encourage yall to put to memory. It’s not very long, and man does it pack a punch. Verse 16 says, Rejoice always, so no matter what happens in life, rejoice! We can rejoice in a long test (I just took the ACT, lol.) becuase that tst score can get into college or even pay for college via scholarships. We can rejoice in sharing a room with a younger sibling, cause we’re prepared for sharing a dorm room with another college student. We can rejoice in a crappy dorm room for that matter, cause it means we’re at college. We can rejoice in anything, no matter what the circumstances. Verse 17 says, pray without ceasing, I REALLY wanted to emphasize this one today. I have done a LOT of praying over college, ACT scores, scholarship money etc. and I have come to the conclusion that you really shouldn’t set out to do anything without praying. (Like when the Isrealites made peace with their neighbors on accident cause they didn’t consult with God first. (See the Book of Judges)) So pray over EVERYTHING! No matter how trivial it seems. And really you should be in prayer ALL the time. Finally verse 18 starts out give thanks in all circumstances. Did you catch that ALL? WE should be thankful in want God has given us, no matter how bad the circumstances seem at the time.

So that’s all I have right now on looking to the future. If you have any questions, let me know! ANd again, I encourage yall to memorize those verses!

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Ok, so the biggest thing I want yall to understand about the future, is that it’s not something to be afraid of. Fot those who are younger and have just started or are getting ready to start highschool, trust the thought terrified me too. (and I was homeschooled) But it’s not as bad as your imagination makes it out to be. For those of us who are embarking out on college adventures in the near future, yeah I’m scared of that too, but I have some awesome college students who come to our church who assure me it’s not that bad either. Anyways, no matter what you are getting ready to do, there’s no reason to be afraid.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

God is with us! He is always woith us! No matter what the future holds, we need not fear for  God is with us! So don’t let the future frighten you becuase ono matter what comes your way God will always be there by your side.

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